Amritsar — The Akali Dal on Tuesday, decided to go ahead with its “‘action plan’’ for the achievement of party demands and authorized the party chief, Mr. Harchand Singh Longowal, to work out modalities.

A five hour closed door party meeting in the Teja Singh Samundari Hall endorsed the decisions taken during the Holla Mohalla occasion at Anandpur Sahib on March 7 in which the party had served an ultimatum to the government to concede its demands before April 12. In case it failed to do so, the action plan would be launched from the Baisakhi on April 13.

The meeting which was attended by nearly 125 Akali leaders including district presidents, ex-MPs, MLA, SGPC members and presidents of different wings, expressed confidence in the leadership of Mr. Longowal and resolved to act on his programmes.

The Akali Dal at its meeting at Anandpur Sahib had also decided seven point demands which included release of Akali leaders, revoking of special courts, withdrawal of “black laws,” withdrawal of armed forces, lifting of ban on the all India Sikh Students Federation, judicial probe into the November violence in Delhi and elsewhere and _ withdrawal of case against youth and army deserters. Talking to newsmen prior to the party meeting, Mr. Longowal clarified that the morcha was passing through “phases.” He alleged that instead of party volunteers courting arrest the government was arresting them from their respective places. Mr. Longowal said till the restoration of ‘‘self-respect of the Sikhs, we cannot think of any elections”’ in the state. “It is our foremost duty to restore the self-respect of the Sikh panth in a dignified way,’’ he added. Mr. Longowal reiterated the demand of releases of all Akali leaders including Mr. G.S. Tohra, SGPC president, and Mr. Prakash Singh Badal, former chief minister. He also referred to the seven new demands of the party including holding of a judicial inquiry into the November violence, scrapping of special courts, withdrawal of certain laws and ending of cases against Sikh youth and army deserters.

The Sikh head priests are likely to take steps in the next few days to forge unity in the various Akali Dal factions; it is reliably learnt on Tuesday.

They said that the head priests were “‘perturbed”’ over these factions trading accusations which were causing damage to the Sikh cause in the present crisis. The detained Delhi Akali Dal chief, Mr. Harcharan Singh, has urged the party leadership in Punjab to demand separate electorates for the Sikhs for the next 25 years.

In a letter to Mr. Longowal, the Delhi Akali chief argued that even if the Punjab issues were settled, the Akalis would not be able to capture power ‘‘to bring back confidence of the Sikhs in the Central Government.”

Article extracted from this publication >>  April 5, 1985